Monday, November 22, 2010

A Young Man

You're never too old to become younger.

Mae West
"I can't do some of the things old folks do any more. I'm not as old as I used to be." Bate

I knew an actor years ago, we were about the same age, who, when we reached our 30's began to talk about all the things that were going to go wrong with our bodies. Soon this was going to fall apart and that was going to go and we would start having trouble with the other thing. He was literally talking his way into old age and trying to take me with him. I was determined to reject his appraisal of growing older. But I guess some of it rubbed off on me because when I was 35 another actor friend said I reminded him of a old fogy.

That remark made me sit up and take inventory of myself. I wasn't an old fogy, I was just acting like one. So I improved my mentality and began to think of myself as young.

When I was in my early 50's I accidentally ran into the first actor in a restaurant in New York. I felt in my prime and looked it. He looked terrible and old. My friends asked me who the old man was. I had to admit, sadly, that we were the same age.

I learned how much an attitude can affect a result. The actor had been forced to give up his career at an early age and carry around with him a double yoke of infirmity and decrepitude. While I had pulled myself out of that pit by rejecting those suggestions he fell more deeply into it.

Now, 20 years later, I have found myself in the same joyful rejection. It's not that I don't have the problems that confront age, it's that I reject the idea that I have to succumb to them and allow them the prerogative of defining me as a miserable old wreck.

Oh, I almost went for it. An option to relax into uselessness presented itself with a smile and an handshake. I almost agreed with the diagnosis my thoughts were giving me. But I didn't need a friend to tell me I was an old fogy. I had learned the lesson.

Ten years ago I worked with an actor who was well into his 80's and going strong. Those are the people I want to emulate now. He had a bad knee which was eventually replaced, but he had a joyous and energetic attitude, and after the knee replacement he went on working.

So I'm a senior citizen, a coot, a geezer, a curmudgeonly bag of bones, but I'm no fogy and I'm not as old as I used to be.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

8 responses so far.

Thank you.


Gerry said...

This was a funny post. I can surely relate to it. I swore I could not ever wear 'old lady' hair dos, so in my old age I have the youngest hair do ever. Straight, bangs, hair flying around like a teenager. I swear, this has fooled more people. They always tell me that I don't look like they expect an old lady to look. And I also express my sexual interests which is another shockeroo. I am shocked that some people give up their sexual selves so young, because they are old! We are what we think, so if we are having a good time and laughing it up, people tend to think we are younger than we are. When we are really determined to enjoy life to the last breath!

pacifica62 said...

I don't mind so much being old if it will get me some little perk in life. Don't have too many of those yet, but will have eventually. Attitude is everything so a great attitude will get us a long way in life that has nothing to do with being boring, old, decrepit or even a fogie --- unless we want it to.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I love this post about attitude. It is so true. We can give in to feelings that takes down or focus on the ones that give us a lift up. I am always looking for a way to Look on the Bright Side. I take breaks and refresh my self a little more often than I used too. But I like these breaks as I spend the time on line and love reading what folks like you have to say. I hope your Monday is a wonderful one! It's just a great day here!

Big Mark 243 said...

Daps to Pacifica!! I too, will accept all early bird dinner specials and discounted rates for my age (when I get there, to be honest) as I do now for my condition. Hey, I enjoyed my life, earned my way to where I am and deserve my happiness honestly!

Good post!

Arlene (AJ) said...

Way to go DB, loved your post. I have always said no matter what age I am, I'll always be 18 in heart and truly believe that is what keeps me so upbeat all the time. Sure beats the alternatives. I believe if you feel young at heart you're whole outlook on life is happier and that beats sitting around complaining and not enjoying life.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The mind is an amazing thing.